Monday, December 18, 2017

The Woods' Celebrate Ten: Vegas Celebration Recap

Wow! It's been 10 years since my husband and I said "I do." It went by so quickly. However, it was not all peaches and cream. If I'm going to be completely honest, years one through six were rough. Divorce lawyers were consulted. Separate bedrooms were slept in. Apartments leases were explored. It was a rough road but my mother gave me some good advice when I would complain about my husband to her. She said "If you leave once, it will be easier to leave again and again and again, until there's nothing to return to."

Clearly, we stuck it out. We made it to our 10th anniversary. The separate bedroom thing lasted for like 3 hours. LOL! The apartments were only a few quick Google searches. The truth is, in all of our mess, we love each other and always knew that we were made for each other, so why fake like we could ever live apart? Year six, we put in some serious work on our marriage and on ourselves. The truth is, no matter how great you may seem to everyone on the outside, the people in your house see your true colors and know how horrible your poop smells. Our grass is green but our water bill is astronomical. Moral: We have paid the price for our happiness.

Year seven was bliss, as close to a happy marriage as we had ever seen. Year eight, I found out I was pregnant and almost lost my life giving birth (Click HERE to read all about that experience). So year nine was even better than year seven and eight because there was a new lease on life. Near death experiences tend to have that effect on people. So, we decided that we would renew our vows for our anniversary in 2017. Neither one of us had never been to Las Vegas, so we thought it'd be a good idea to do it there. I had visions of super fly cocktail attire in a tacky chapel with Elvis performing the ceremony. But what's a vow renewal without the people you are close to being their to witness? I sent out a little text invite to get a gauge of who wanted to come. Then life happened....

I became a full time entrepreneur and my son grew from a cute little infant into an active toddler. I got busy, so I delegated the planning. I hired Cordially Invited Events to put it all together. I literally only told them that I wanted a wedding at a tacky chapel and to take everyone who came out to dinner afterward. Dassit. When I tell you my husband and I were overwhelmed by the experience, that is an understatement. We thought maybe 50 people would respond and only about 30 people would show up. Almost 70 people made their way to Vegas to celebrate with us. The chapel was perfect. The meal venue was fly, black owned, and the food was delicious. The decor was super cute and represented our union flawlessly. The icing on the cake was that one of my bestest, most deserving girlfriends got engaged. It was a perfect weekend.

We had so much fun with our family and friends. It was truly a memorable event. I want to share this experience with you. Click HERE to see some of the pictures. If you want to watch the re-cap video (it's about 6 minutes), click HERE.

I have to list the Production Credits because it was a production. Ashanti and I really just showed up.
Event Planners: Cordially Invited Events
Photographer: Nice Shot, Kyle Pompey
Videographer: Apeture, Stephen Jones
Make Up: Beauty By Bre
Dress: Brides and Grooms, Pikesville, MD
Jacket: Turning Point
Arto and Syvilla Woods: Sponsors for Meet and Greet as well as Cocktail Hour
Centry and Preston Greene: Traveling babysitters

Cordially Invited Events handled everything from arranging the hotels, guest transportation to and from the chapel, harrassing Mandalay Bay after the shooting to try to get us some complimentary stuff and upgrades, table decor at the lunch, running around when all the decor didn't get delivered on time, harassing me to make sure I had my slide show together after my hard drive crashed and I lost all of my pictures from 2005-2013 (Thank God for Facebook). I'm sure there are other things they handled that I didn't know about but they'll spill it at the Post-Event Debriefing. LOL!

Kyle and Stephen....what can I say. These are two of the most humble and talented "shooters" I know. They are usually out doing celebrity shoots and high profile jobs but they penciled the Woods' in for 4 whole days to make sure our weekend was captured properly, from all angles. A photographer once told me "You only get one time to capture the moment. Then you can re-live it over and over again. Never be cheap with capturing it." I am so thankful for them. We keep looking at all of these shots and video just smiling and laughing and blushing. Stephen even over came his fear of flying to take his longest flight ever, just for us. We had NO IDEA! As if him being there wasn't special enough, that made it even more meaningful.

Quinceanara/Bride of Beetleguise Dress
Of course there was dress drama. My sister, Thee Fashioneer, found me a fly dress way in advance that had to be made custom. I ordered it. It came. It was hideous. I had 6 weeks to get it together. I couldn't find anything I liked on the interwebs that was within my budget. So, one day I was out running errands and decided to stop in Brides and Grooms, on the corner of Reisterstown Rd. and Slade Ave. The sales lady gave me a side eye when I said "wedding" and "2 weeks" in the same sentence but found me 2 dresses in my size and desired color within my budget. The first one I tried on was the one.

Ashanti and I always talk about how blessed we are to have 2 sets of AMAZING parents. We definitely could have been dealt a different hand in life. When I told Mama Woods we were over budget for the meal (I definitely didn't budget for 70 people. LOL!), she stepped right in because "Don't be coming all the way to Vegas and trying to penny pinch the details". Her words. Not mine. She went to Sam's Club and balled out for snacks, drinks and liquor for us to have in our suite over the weekend. I'm so happy our parents have a great relationship with each other. Both sets worked out their "Vegas Fun" schedules with each other so they could be available to hang out with their grandson while we had fun celebrating.

Becoming a full time entrepreneur has been a HUGE financial sacrifice for us but some things deserve a proper celebration. We planned, budgeted, and saved for over a year to prepare for this so that our responsibilities wouldn't suffer in the aftermath. I had many second thoughts but always came back to life being about moments and experiences. I am SO happy we followed through with this plan. Thanks for reading. Now get back to work. LOL!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Updated: Fancy Hair 2017

Back in 2014, I wrote a blog about how I style my hair and what products I use (Click HERE to read that). I've added a few styles and changed some of the products I use.

I wear my hair natural. That means, I don't process it with chemicals to straighten it. I just let it flourish in it's kinky element. It's so funny to me because when I think my hair looks crazy, I get the most compliments. I get approached by hair admirers proclaiming that they wish they could wear their hair natural. I also get a lot of questions about my hair. Often from women who are trying to figure their own hair out. The most common questions I get are what products I use and what do I do to it when I style it. My cousin told me that I should start a separate hair blog, but quite honestly, I don't do enough to my hair to warrant a whole blog about it. I figured I post sporadically post hair stuff among the rest of my blogging.

In true "Fancy" fashion, these rules about how I view my hair and how I treat it still apply. Here we go:
  1. I let my hair be great. Sometimes it's fluffy, sometimes it's bushy. I don't fuss over it. I don't try to make sure every strand is in place. I don't try to make my hair look like someone else's. All of our hair textures are different. I have about 4 different textures and curl patterns in my own head. It's all in your mindset.
  2. Moisture is the most important player when dealing with kinky hair. Keep your hair moisturized.....not oily. Just want to reiterate this. Water moisturizes. Apply oil to seal moisture/water into your hair or skin. Otherwise the oil will just sit on top of the dry hair.
  3. Experiment to find out what works for you. Experiment with styling and products. What's good for one person doesn't necessarily work for someone else.
  4. STAY WOKE and read the ingredients on the products you're buying. Avoid products with the following ingredients. These ingredients dry your hair which lead to breakage. ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL, MINERAL OIL & PETROLATUM, PEG, PROPYLENE GLYCOL (PG), SODIUM LAURYL SUFATE (SLS) & SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (SLES), CHLORINE, DEA (diethanolamine) MEA (momoethnanolamine) TEA (triethanolamine), FD & C Color PIGMENTS, FRAGRANCE, and IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA and DMDM HYDANTOIN.
Up Do
My hair routine is very simple, I don't use a whole plethora of products and I actually don't spend that much time doing my hair. It can seem like a long time but it's less than or equal to the amount of time people spend in the salon.

Cleansing and Conditioning
I am very active. I used to work out 3-4 days/week, now it's 4-5 days and I still sweat...a lot. So it's very important for me to get to my scalp and get rid of the build up. In the summer I may shampoo weekly but mostly every 2 weeks. When I've been swimming, I shampoo using a sulfate free shampoo. Make sure you read the ingredients. All things labeled sulfate free are not. When I don't swim, I do an Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) rinse. Essentially, I section my hair and, using a spray bottle, I spray the ACV on my scalp and massage my scalp with my finger tips, not my nails. Then, I spray it on the length of my hair. This will loosen up the dirt and build up without drying it out like shampoo does. I twist plait each section as I go because my hair is super thick, getting long and out of control. LOL! Rinse. Then I do a co-wash. A co-wash is when you use conditioner instead of shampoo like you're washing it. I do the same thing I did with the ACV. Massaging my scalp and re-twisting plaiting. Rinse and repeat. If I'm deep conditioning, I apply the conditioner to the length of my hair. Sometimes I put a conditioner cap on....sometimes I don't. Rinse. I'm ready to style.
Wet Twist Out

My go-to style is a twist out. That works for me. In the summer, I twist it wet and pin it up into a style for a couple days. Then take it out when it's completely dry. In the winter, I alternate with dry twist outs and wet twist outs. The dry twist out tends to last longer. I can get about 3 weeks of styles from a dry twist out. Just witch hazel my scalp when it gets a little itchy.

Wet Twist Out: Results in tight, long lasting curls.
I don't have to spend time detangling because I did that while I was shampooing and conditioning. That also decreases the chances that my hair will dry out while I'm twisting. I take one section at a time, spray some leave in conditioner apply Fancy Free Milk and comb it through. Then I apply the shea butter pomade that I make in my kitchen Fancy Free Pomade and comb it through. Two strand twist to the ends. Dassit.

Twist Out After Blow Drying: Results in loose curls that may require re-twisting every other night or super BIG hair.
Faux Hawk
Sit under a hood dryer to let all the excess water dry. Spray with leave in conditioner. Apply a little bit of my homemade pomade Fancy Free Pomade to each section. Then blow dry each section on low heat until it's no longer damp. For straighter hair, I may hit it on high for a couple seconds but not too much. I don't want to have heat damage. All dry, I part into sections and get to twisting. I spray a little mist of water and apply a creamy pomade  Fancy Free Milk as I twist to give structure to the twist. I might even spray the ends a little so they curl and the twist will stay in.
Up Do:
I don't do them often. They require daily up keep and I'm not about that life.

Flexi-Rod Set: After shampooing and conditioning, I use Fancy Free Milk for Hair & Skin to detangle and a small amount of Fancy Free Shea Pomade for Hair & Skin while my hair is still damp. I may braid or plait my hair to air dry for a few hours or days (depending on my life at the time), then blow dry on low heat. Once my hair is completely dry, I do one or two passes with the blow drier on high heat. Once dry, I section my hair in 1-2 inch section, spray a tiny mist of water on the section. I start with the end and 🤔🤔🤔🤔 (I can't think of another way to describe it) twist the hair around the flexi rod while rolling it. Confusing? If you watch the video it will make perfect sense.

High Bun: My new favorite since my hair has gotten longer. It's my "formal" up do. LOL!

Halo Braid: Also one of my new favorites for right after blow drying and I'm not sure how I want to wear my hair.

Dry Twist Out
Keeping your ends trimmed is important. I get my ends trimmed every 3-4 months. My stylist usually just blow dries and trims that way. I only get it straightened once a year, maybe twice. Straight hair requires too much attention for me and my hectic life as a medical professional mother of a toddler and entrepreneur. Plus, it can cause heat damage if you're not careful. For a naturalista, heat damage is indicated by the straight hair when it should be curly. My twist out gets stuffed in a bonnet at night and fluffed out in the morning. Dassit. LOL!

Hair Product Details
After trial and error I have found that these things work best for me. This is so funny to me. I hardly use any of these products anymore.

Up do
I guess I can be considered a natural hair stylist. In my former life, I used to work in a salon as a natural hairstylist. If you would like individual coaching through your process, I would love to help you. Visit my website to set up a natural hair consult.

Until next time....let your hair flourish in it's natural state or pass this on to someone looking for guidance in what to do with their natural hair.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Stop Being a "Punk A$$ Chauncey": Hair Edition

One time I went out and my twist out was super popping!
One of the most "interesting" comments I hear from women of color when they compliment my hair is that "I wish I could go natural". GURL! Whet?!?! A loooooong string of questions pop in to my head. Why can't you? What's stopping you? What's wrong with wearing your hair in the texture that it grows out of your head? But I always smile and say "Awwww! You CAN!" When I hear women say things like this it makes me sad. Sad that people think that they are not going to be accepted for being who they are. Sad people don't want to wear their hair the way Jehovah made it. Sad that they accept the European standard of beauty when they are descendants of Africa. Sad that they would prefer to subject their body to harsh chemicals, chemical burns, heat burns, tension alopecia and everything else that comes along with not letting your hair just "be". Sad that they think their hair is nappy (in a negative way) and unmanageable in it's natural state. I want to scream STOP THIS!!!!! But I've been in therapy for about 5 years now and I am learning to be empathetic. I know that a drastic change in appearance takes a lot of mental preparation.

As a nerd, I gather data. About 85% of the natural consults I have are with women who want to wear textured styles but are scared of how their hair will turn out, wanting their hair to look like something they saw on the internet instead of figuring out what's best for their hair. I end up doing "hair counseling" instead of consulting. I am so happy that they are taking the first step. Even happier to help them. And elated when they report their hair "breakthroughs" to me.

Me, at work, with crazy hair
but still working.
Your hair is your hair. My hair is my hair. I have about 4 different textures of hair in my head. My hair tends to dry out. My hair flops forward into my face no matter how I style it. I stopped trying to do bantu knots, they just don't work for me. A lot of product in my hair ruins the style. I never used edge control, just Fancy Free products, a brush and a scarf. These are things I've learned about my hair over the past 7 years of not having relaxer. I have my hair routine down to a science. I rarely deviate from it because I've learned many a tough lesson.

My point is, Jehovah has designed everyone with intention and intrinsic beauty. Flaws and all, you are beautiful with short hair, long hair, straight hair, tightly coiled hair, etc. In 2017, if you are denied a job or an opportunity because of the way your hair is styled then maybe that thing you thought you wanted isn't for you. I just wouldn't encourage someone to go after that something that requires they look like something they aren't. In mind, they're gonna take whatever hairstyle you walk in there with and deal with it. You'd be surprised how complimentary people are of your natural styles. I've found that most have, what I call, "volume envy". They wish that they too could have big hair or switch their hairstyles up the way we can.

To anyone considering the transition to natural hair, my advice is to just do it. There is no time like the present. Think long, think wrong.

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free, LLC. is the manufacturer of quality products for hair and skin and natural hair consultant for women who would like assistance on their natural hair journey. Our motto is "Keeping you chemical free." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Rejoice! Once was lost....

My husband and I started dating while we were both in school. About 3 years in, we were talking about marriage. I made it clear to him that I did not need a ring to plan a wedding and that I was ok with just a wedding band when we did get married. I did not want to start our marriage in debt, considering he would only be working for a few months before we got married. However, my husband is a man. Men have pride. An engagement ring is a kind of ego boost for a man. He chased and caught me. I was his prize. He needed to claim it with a ring. His response to my fiscally responsible plan was "I am Ashanti Woods. My fiancee WILL have a ring." Ok, dear. Whatever.

He researched. Learned about diamonds and found a way to buy me a beautiful high quality diamond engagement ring. The very next thing he told me after I said yes was "I'm going to get you something bigger when I finish residency." (Lawd. I'm tearing up as I write this.)

Push Gift
Well, residency came and went. We had marital problems. He wasn't sure I deserved an upgrade. I wasn't sure we would stay married. We worked on us. We fixed it. We bought our dream home knowing it was a money pit. We started a family. I was really swollen during pregnancy. So swollen that we had to pry that ring off of my swollen pregnant fingers. Literally, with olive oil, ice and dental floss. The ring he had sacrificed to buy me, with no job, went into the original box and locked into our safe.

Mother's Day Gift
We joked about me not wanting to look like a single mother without a wedding ring while pregnant. He bought me a push gift. A beautiful gemstone set. I LOVE that ring. THEN, I almost died during delivery (Click HERE to read about that). He bought me another beautiful set for Mother's Day. I LOVE that ring too. Now, here I am with wedding set options and I was still wanting to wear my original set. I know. #FirstWorldProblems. I'd try it on every now and then but my fingers never went all the way down after having my son. My original rings were now too small and needed to be sized up. My husband wanted me to just do it all at once, upgrade the stone and get the rings sized but quitting my job to pursue full-time entrepreneurship pushed that plan a little further off into the future.

After having a good month in sales, I took my set to the jeweler to get sized. I was so happy when I picked it up. It was sparkly and shining like the first day I got it. I wanted to preserve the "fresh from the jeweler" sparkle, so I didn't wear it everyday. When we went on vacation, I decided to wear my push gift ring instead because I'd be devastated if something happened to my original set.

While on vacation, I lost one of my super small studs in the grass. But I found it. My husband kept asking me how I found it. I shrugged. We laughed. Went on about with our vacation fun. We had no idea that lost and found stud was foreshadowing. Jehovah was preparing us for the big lose.

One day in July, I decided to take my son to my girlfriend's house to swim. I put on my beloved original wedding ring set, packed up the kid and start driving. Halfway to her house, I look down and see it. Or don't see it. Either way. My heart dropped. The center stone was missing. I didn't panic. I knew that it was somewhere in the house or the car. I get to my girlfriends house. I search the car. We stay for a few minutes. I go home. I search the alley, garage, back yard. We scour the house. I tell the housekeeper to leave the vacuum contents for me to sift through. Nothing. That was July.

No Center Stone 
Unfortunately, I never added my ring, or any other valuable for that matter, to our insurance policy, so, after the deductible, I'd only have $500 to shop for a new diamond if I made a claim. Not worth it. But we were not worried. Sad. But not worried. We remembered that night in the Dominican Republic when I found my stud in the grass and knew that Jehovah wanted us to be at ease. It would show up.

This year makes 10 years of marriage for us. The first six year's were rocky. So we planned on having a small vow renewal in Las Vegas to celebrate us making it to this milestone. We only invited close friends who know what we've overcome. My husband and I haven't talked about my ring but I knew it was in the back of his mind. Things have been tight since I became a full time entrepreneur. We aren't sure we can afford the renewal but we are at a phase in our lives where experiences mean more than things. Not being able to upgrade my ring is no big deal but not having a ring at all.... *phew* It's now November. I lost my stone in July. With the renewal less than a month away, the ring was coming to ring forefront of my mind but I won't dare mention it.

Friday, I was in the alley, struggling with trying to attach my son's carseat base in my car. I never do it in the alley. I always do it in the garage. But my car had been in the shop, so my mother in law's car that I'd been driving was in the garage. I was struggling really bad this time. More than usual. Took off my watch and rings to get in to it. Was twisting and changing angles when I see a little twinkle coming from the seam of the carseat. I stepped back. Looked again. The sun was hitting it at the right angle. It was my diamond!

It's a big deal to me.
Hallelujah!! I hollered. Tears came to my eyes. Unbelievable! All this time. It was right there. I tried to grab it and it fell into the depths of my car's door trim. Riddled with wires and snaps. I started pulling it apart but I was running late to get the kid from daycare.

First call. My husband. Best news all month. Made his day. Took the car to my father. He pulls the seat and door trim apart. Viola! Diamond in hand. Won't He do it! All praises. Jehovah always delivers. Now we're so happy to have that original diamond. Smaller than the diamond my husband wants me to have but it means soooo much more to us now that we found it after thinking it may have been lost forever.

Moral: Jehovah be mentally preparing you for things to come and youoneemknowit. Appreciate what you have. If it's taken away, you will be sad. Allow the sadness but have faith that Jehovah will restore it when the time is right.

I'm sure there are some other lessons that I needed to learn from this. I'll let y'all know after I meditate on it for a little while longer. Until then, pray and have faith. Everything is going to be alright. Everything you lost will be restored.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Stop Being A "Punk A$$ Chauncey": Business Edition

Now, I'm being frank. I am only speaking for myself. Talking to my old self when I knew I wasn't fulfilled with work anymore. If you can relate, this is for you. Here goes.....

As my business grows, I get more and more questions about taking the leap from people who have
been watching my progress and are seeking advice for how to start a business of their own. They want to know the steps I took to be able to quit my job and go for Fancy Free full time. When did I know? My advice is standard.

1. Build your business while you are working.
This will require late nights and early mornings. You will be tired. You will get overwhelmed. You will shed tears. You will need weekly therapy to get through it without going crazy. Do it anyway.  
2. Get out of debt.
We all have debt. Create a budget. Make a plan. Pay it off. That's the only real way to get out of debt. There is no magic bullet. There are no secrets. Pay the debt. Do not create more debt.
3. Stick to your budget.
You've created a budget to get out of debt, now it's time to crunch the numbers. If you're married, set your budget up so your household can function on your spouse's income. If you're not married, make sure your business income can carry your bare bones necessities before you quit.
4. Time to jump!
When all of that is pretty much lined up, jump. Do it! Quit! Take the plunge. I say pretty much lined up because the timing will never look right in your eyes. You just have to do it. Close your eyes and let go.
However, I see the same people 6, 9, 12 months later and they haven't even STARTED THEIR BUSINESS!!! GURL! Do not be wasting my unlimited wifi data asking me questions if you aren't going to act on it.

But I know why. The reason you haven't started your business is because you're being a punk ass Chauncey. (If you ever watched "The Game" sitcom, you know what that means. If you haven't, you should watch it. It's very funny) You are scared! Ok. Your business doesn't start making money right away. But did you die? No. Your friends and family aren't supporting you the way you expected them to. But did you die? No. You're scared of what other's might say. Ummm...WHO CARES?!?!?
We've become a society where "What do you do?" is an ice breaker and a job description or title is the standard answer. Come on now. You are not your job. You are you. You are good at your job because of who you are but, again, you are not your job description. However, your ego won't allow you to let go of that idea. Your six figure salary and big wig title could be gone tomorrow, without warning. You're afraid to start "from the bottom" when you've spent years in a corner office with a view, delegating and being "important". We only get one life. Are you REALLY ok with living your life wondering "what if"? You're going to hold on to the six figure salary and not explore the possibilities of being able to generate seven and eight figures on your own terms? YOU are the only thing holding you back. Seriously.

Yes. You're going to have to make some lifestyle changes in the beginning. You're going to have to change the way you operate. An entrepreneur operates totally different than a director of a human resources department. You're going to have to read and develop a habit of personal growth. Becoming the best you is crucial to your business. Your job will send you to leadership programs to become a better leader to build their business. As an entrepreneur, you have to manage yourself before you even build a team to lead.

I will be honest. The first few years are humbling as HEYALL but it's fun to track your progress and see the breakthroughs. I left a stable income in healthcare, a pretty stable industry, to getting excited about the possibility of making $30,000. But it's MY $30,000! If I grind it out. Fix the kinks. Make tweaks. Hire the right marketing team. Bring a good sales team on board. That $30,000 can be $60,000-$75,000 within one year. ONE YEAR!!! Not that measley 2.5% yearly increase. Not that sales commision check. Imagine what your company is profiting off of your efforts if they're GIVING you a check. Think about it. Now, take that effort and apply it to growing your own business.

Alls I'm saying is deez jobs ain't loyal. My experience was that I had asked for an abbreviated work
week, my job told me no. Only to come back to me a few years later saying "We think your work can be done in 20 hours, you can go part time or you can take on more responsibility and stay on full time." Uh no. The part time position was perfect timing but I realized that it really wasn't an efficient use of my time, so I decided to leave. But I was in a position to do that because I had a plan.

You can leave on your own terms, like me, or get terminated but sooner or later, THEY decide your destiny, not you. I am almost certain my position would have eventually been eliminated or outsourced to the "mother" institution like a lot of other positions at my job. If it's in the back of your mind, stop being a punk a$$ Chauncey and start working toward leaving all of that stuff behind. Sure. It will be an adjustment, a big adjustment but you and your family will be better for it.

Shameless Plug Alert:

Fancy Free, LLC. is the manufacturer of quality products for hair and skin. Our motto is "Keeping you chemical free." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Started From The Bottom, Now We're....Still Kinda At The Bottom

I started selling Fancy Free Pomade for Hair & Skin in March 2015, it was on a whim. No business plan. No real plan for it at all. My goodt goodt girlfriend knows her stuff, after using it once, she said "Sell this." So I started selling it. That first year was a world wind of packaging, designing labels, solidifying vendors....or at least trying to solidify vendors, but that's another story. You know, just trying to figure it all out without having the slightest clue of what I was doing. What I did know was that I had something good. I had a great product with a great concept and as soon as people tried it, they were hooked.

When I saw what I looked at my profits from 2015, I thought "We might be on to something." If I had the right guidance, if I had the right influence, if I had someone to show me, step by step, how to run my business, this could really be big. But I had none of that. I didn't even have a real website. LOL! I talked to a few people but no one who could commit to really mentoring me the way I needed. I am a scientist, not a business woman. I was floating by in the first half of 2016. Taking my sweet time to get my website together. I mean, I was selling on Etsy and eBay, good enough. I had this HUGE project that I was working on at work. I had a baby in my belly. I had a lot on my plate. Then I got a call to for Shark Tank casting. Whaaaaaatttt??????? OMG! I was so nervous. I had to record a video. I didn't know what to say. My website wasn't finished. I didn't have a business plan. My numbers were pretty puny compared to the type of numbers I had seen from other businesses pitching on the show. But I went for it. Kicked in to high gear. Rushed to have a special box designed to send samples to California. I was not polished. I was all over the place. I had no experience shipping in warm temperatures, so I'm sure the product was melted when it was delivered. Fancy Free was not selected for the second phase of testing. But I did not get discouraged. I used that experience as a lesson. I took that lesson and got to work.

Fast forward to June 2016, a second Shark Tank casting. No call back. Then in August 2017, an application to pitch to Betamore at Beta City. Yes! Finally, I think this is going to be the one. I go to the workshop they have on creating a pitch. The presenter offered some great insight, maybe you don't need an investor, if you're profitable and small, your efforts can probably be "bootstrapped". No. It's not as secure as having a millionaire back your efforts. Yes. It will take longer. But why give away equity in your company when it's very possible that you can achieve your goals without having to. Needless to say, I did not get selected to pitch my business to an investor at Beta City but I was selected to become a member of iFundWomen's Maryland cohort.

iFundWomen is a platform for women entrepreneurs to encourage and support each other through raising capital to start or grow their businesses. Founded by Karen Cahn during the 2016 Presidential Election, iFundWomen has since raised $700,000 for 120 entrepreneurs. The mission of iFundWomen is to close the funding and confidence gap for female entrepreneurs by working with early stage companies on coaching, brand positioning, and sales strategies, to get them off the ground, and onto "Main Street". 

Living in the city, I see all of the disparities of Baltimore. My husband and I chose to purchase a house in the city because we know the solid community is the only thing that can reverse the effects of school to prison pipeline, drug addiction, absentee parents and other challenges our people are experiencing. We decided that we wanted to set an example and be the change in our city that we want to see. Our goal is to play a major role in rebuilding our city and the sense of community that we once held so near and dear to our hearts. With help for iFundWomen supporters, I will be able to do just that. 

I have a really hard time asking for help publicly, especially monetary help, but I realized that my project was bigger than me so I got over myself. I am offering rewards for every giving level. This is where building community begins. If you offer a helping hand, I am in a better position to help someone else because you helped me.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Greene Girls Do Egypt

I've always found the "*insert porn star's name* Does *insert location*" titles hilarious. So I use this format to describe my vacations. HarDeeHarHar! Ok. So, my sisters and I have started a tradition where we go on a sister's trip every August, our birthday month. They are in to fashion and designer trinkets but my Dora The Explorer lessons have encouraged them to add traveling to their budget too. I was an only child for 13 years, so I traveled a lot as a child before they came along. I have the travel bug. My closest friends and I have been traveling way before Travel Noire became a thing. My yearly travel schedule is usually filled with standing trips before we even start receiving invites to destination weddings and things like that. Fancy's yearly travels look like this:
  • Family Trip
  • Girl's Trip to Cape Cod/Martha's Vineyard
  • Sister's Trip
  • Romantic Trip with hubby
In that order!

I've done almost multiple Caribbean vacations multiple times. To me, it's all the same. Blue water, cocktails and naps on the beach, fresh seafood, an excursion to zip line or ATV riding, blah blah blah. I do it once a year but I feel like I can do that in my backyard too, so I'm not enthused about spending $1500-$2000 pp to fly somewhere to do it. Plus, my wifi at home is popping. LOL! So, when it came time to plan our 2017 Sister's Trip we wanted to do something different. My sister's have never been overseas, so the first place they wanted to do is Italy, for the shopping, of course. But with all the Black Lives Matter and resurfacing of racism in America, we decided to start exploring the history of our mother land, Africa, instead of Europe.

Now Africa is a whole continent, so I did my research and talked to my Nigerian friends to ask them where we should start. I did the research, we established a budget, talked to a travel agent and eventually found a deal on Living Social. $1599 for an all-inclusive, 10 day tour of Egypt. Yes. That is correct $1600 for round trip flight, hotel accommodations in 4 different Egyptian cities, most meals, all transportation in and through each city, an expert tour guide, armed security, and a tourism police escort through Egypt. I say all this to say, traveling does not have to cost an arm and a leg. Shit. It costs more than $1600 for a nice weekend in Miami, FL for the weekend. This was half of our budget of $3000.

We booked it in January. August came really quickly. I was having anxiety the day before because it had just hit me that I would be leaving my son alone with my husband for 10 days. EEK! My stylist sister, Thee Fashioneer™, had custom sweats made for traveling. Our bags were less than 23 kgs. We hit the road. Well, the plane, but whatever. LOL! 

Two flights, 16 hours later, we arrived in Cairo, Egypt. It was dark when we arrived but we knew we were not in Kansas anymore. If you followed my Instastory on @IyonnaWoods you saw the day to day adventures of our Egyptian experience. I'm not going to get into the minute details of our trip. I'm just going to list the highlights of our trip.

Egyptian Experience Lessons
  • Those LivingSocial and Groupon travel deals are legit. Take the risk.
  • The Revolution was in 2011. Egypt is safe to visit.
  • Physical evidence of the revolution is very prevalent. The people were awesome.
  • Egyptians do not look like Western Africans. They look Middle Eastern and speak Arabic.
  • Traveling to historic destination with an educated tour guide is the way to go. You're forced to go to the sites and not sleep in, they will guide you in interact ing with the locals, you are supporting the local economy.
  • Nuba means keeper of gold. The Nubian people lived in southern Egypt and northern Sudan where the largest quarry of gold was. They were subject to attack because of the gold. 
  • Ancient Egyptian royalty loved gold.
  • Nubian people are noticeably darker than other Egyptians.
  • I will be going back to referring to myself as a Nubian sister.
  • Tourism is a real industry. Natives go to college and earn degrees in Egyptology to become a tour guide. The arts schools train students to become proficient in hieroglyphics, papyrus making, flower essence making, etc.
  • Americans don't travel to Northeastern Africa often.
  • African-Americans don't travel to Africa often.
  • Russia has callous influence on more countries than we realize. Convincing the Egyptian president to move the Nubian people from the native land in order to build a dam in the Nile river that would flood them instead of building a series of locks along the river. The locks would be cheaper to build and the people could stay. Russia said "just move the people".😢
  • Pack protein shakes and snacks when traveling to a different culture. I am on a low carb diet. Egyptians serve about 6 servings of bread for breakfast. I got hunger sick for the first 3 days of our trip because I wasn't eating breakfast. Lesson learned.
  • Ancient Egyptians were ultra engineers.
  • Ancient Egyptians were SUPER elaborate.
  • Ancient Egyptians were very thorough.
  • When it's super hot and sunny, cover your skin. You'll be cooler.
We bought a LivingSocial sold by Encounters Travel. It was one of the best travel experiences I have ever had. They thought of everything that we would experience and had a solution. They added all kinds of updates and surprises to our itinerary. Our tour guide, Big Mo, was extremely personable and knowledgeable. I would not hesitate to book travel directly through Encounters for any future travel needs.

Check out my full vacation album if you're bored at work or your son's football practice. Just click here.

Shameless Plug Alert:
We spent the majority of days and nights traipsing about in the African desert heat and sun. I'm talking 107℉ by 9:30a sun and heat. I only used Fancy Free Aluminum Free Deodorant and Fancy Free Milk for Hair & Skin as sunscreen. I did have pit sweat, I don't think the kind of deodorant matters in that kind of heat, but I did not smell bad at the end of the day. I did get slightly darker but I did not burn. Just so you know. These products are available at😊

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Go Farther

I was never much of a teamwork type of person. It's the perfectionist's struggle. No one can do things quite as well as we can so we don't trust them. When I started my career as a medical laboratory scientist, I worked by myself. At night. I could be alone with my thoughts. I didn't have to check behind anyone. I didn't have to check in with anyone. I was responsible for my work only. I did the best that I could and I passed what I didn't finish on to the next shift. I was a high performer. I received stellar reviews and multiple pay increases. No promotions though, but that's a story for another blog.

Fast forward six years, to 2010, I became a manager. I had a team of people looking to me for answers. I had a team of colleagues working along side me. I was also a part of a interdisciplinary healthcare team that combined efforts to make the patient care experience efficient and effective. I did well with my staff. I incorporated their ideas and asked what I could do to make their job better. That was pretty simple because I used to do their job. I knew what
it took. We had similar thought patterns. We were usually on the same page. Working with the interdisciplinary team took some adjusting. For one, I had no idea what a typical work day looked like for most of them. We thought and processed differently. I was used to keeping it simple but it took complicated and time consuming efforts to make minute changes in workflows outside of the laboratory. It was very frustrating but I eventually learned the law of the land. Got better at playing politics. Grew as a leader. And I accomplished things within my 6.5 year tenure that no one before me had done. I retired from that role in good standing with my colleagues and director.

When I started a network marketing business after 3 years in a managerial position, I realized that I could not build success alone. Not in network marketing, that's why it's called "network". LOL! In order for me to be successful, I had to teach others how to duplicate what I did to be successful. That was a very different concept for me. I was a Specialist in Blood Bank. At work, no one else in my department had the same level of expertise in matters of transfusion medicine that I had. And they didn't need to, I was hired because I was the expert in a subject that no one else wanted to learn. No one else could do my job. That is what made me an asset at work. But if I didn't teach my network marketing business partners, my business would surely fail. It changes your perspective on a lot of things. Not just business or work but on life in general.

I started my hair and skin product business very haphazardly. There was no plan in place. I did not
venture into it thinking that one day I could retired from health care to do it full time to build a business in the beauty industry. But here we are. In network marketing, independent business owners are encouraged to invest in personal development. As you grow, so does your business. There is a greater teamwork spirit than any other industry that I've ever worked in. Through personal development, I've learned to focus on improving my natural abilities and hire someone to do everything else. Which means, I need to hire a team if I want to grow my business to it's full potential.

It's not just about unlimited growth potential for my business, it's about giving people an opportunity to hone their own talents as I improve my own. We grow together. We feed off of each other and the business grows effortlessly, just by us focusing on our strengths.

Two and a half years in to this beauty business and I can say that I have grown tremendously as a person, but so has my business. I hired a graphic designer to do my labels. I am not a graphic designer. I pay someone to update my website. I am not a web developer. I pay someone to manage my social media. I am not a marketing guru. I have an assistant who helps keep me organized. I work like a tazmanian devil, I need someone to keep me in line. I pay someone to take my product pictures. I don't have the time it takes to take product pictures and edit them. I pay someone to handle my legal needs. I am not an attorney and Rocket Lawyer doesn't always cut it. I have a business mentor to help me navigate my next steps. I have a cosmetic scientists who helps me determine proper labeling and testing. I have a team who believe in my vision. They are experts in areas that I am not. I trust them. I can focus on what I do best and I know they've got me covered. The evolution of Fancy Free is obvious because of them. I am excited about what the future holds for us. I know I wouldn't be able to go as far as I've gone without them.

Growing a business of any kind is no easy feat. You NEED a team. There is an African Proverb that says "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." Rome was not built in one day. Most empires that rise quickly, crumble even faster. I am not interested in blowing up over night. I have grown to enjoy the process of growth. Some days are better than others but I have my team to lean on. I make sure I talk to someone when I need encouragement. This makes a world of different. I don't I would've quit long ago without them. LOL!

Shameless Plug Alert:

Fancy Free, LLC. is the manufacturer of quality products for hair and skin. Our motto is "Keeping you chemical free." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How You Gonna Win When You Ain't Right Within

I have become increasingly pro-black since 2007 when Barack Obama began his race to become president. Honestly, I didn't think he would win, not because he wasn't qualified but I didn't believe that the powers that be, who really run this country, would allow it. Just my opinion. And that is when it all began. White America began to show it's true colors. Muttering under their breath what they had been holding in for many years. I believe it in was in the late 1960s when it became unacceptable to for a white man to call a black man a "nigger" in public. He still saw us as "niggers". He just didn't say it. He was still in power, so whatever. That is until Barack Obama, a black man, became the most powerful man in the world when was inaugurated as the President of the United States. And THAT is when all hell broke loose....

How could a black man, the lowest of the low, become POTUS, the highest of the high? After all,
most of America is white. Most of America is poor, uneducated and white. They have been taught that even though they are poor and uneducated, they are still better than "niggers". The masses began brewing. Upset. Angry. And as their hate could not phase the impeccably graceful Obama family, it upset them even more. If it weren't so sad, it would be hilarious. The Obama family represented everything America is supposed to be. Humble beginnings. Freedom to organize and gather people to help them help themselves. Remaining humble while growing an empire. Inspiring change for the better. Making an effort, no matter how impossible it may seem to accomplish. Barack Obama did everything he could to bring change to policy and corrupt government. The Obama family remained classy and free of scandal...for the most part. But wypipo were still mad. Mad that he had made it that far. Then in marches Trump.

Trump ran for president knowing what the majority of America wanted to hear. Without saying "I'm going to put these niggers back in their place.", that's what he said to them. Ha! Imagine that! An illiterate billionaire who built his fortune on lies and controversy is going to put hard working, intelligent, woke people in their place? And where is that? Not so fast. We ain't scared of you. We can read. We know the law. And most importantly, we won't stand for it. The era of Jim Crow is over. While the justice system is what it is, we know it isn't totally against us the way it used to be.

We are the original people. Life began with us, in Africa. EVERYONE has the DNA of an African in
their blood. EVERYONE. We survived 245 years of torture while others perished. We are strong. We can not be extinguished. And what would extinguishing the original people get them? Struggle. Cuz we taught them the game. Remember? But most importantly, we know that hatred never wins. Love ALWAYS win. Hatred is exhausting and stressful. You can die from a heart attack because you were angry. But love his soothing and easy going. Watch yo back, wypipo. We will gladly correct love. Everything you've done to us gonna come back to haunt you.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Dr. Dre Called It The Detox

Here in America, our culture does not naturally embrace our "natural smell" like others. We label it as "body odor", something to be ashamed of. Some people's natural body odor is pleasant to us. They're called pheromones. We are attracted to them. When we smells someone's odor and we do not like it, it just means that they are not for us. LOL! So I get it when some people are hesitant to try a "natural" deodorant cuz no one really wants to smell "natural". Truth is, most people don't even know what their natural smell is. However, if you're sick of pumping your body with chemicals that have been banned in most other countries but somehow are still legal in the U.S., you've been eating organic and started using Fancy Free for Hair & Skin to moisturize, the next step is switching to a natural deodorant (I've already put in my shameless plug so I'm gonna let y'all live on what deodorant to choose but we have Aluminum Free deodorant too.)

You've Made The Choice

Somethings work best when you drop them cold turkey, some don't. Making the switch to aluminum regular use of conventional deodorants and antiperspirants can change the bacterial microbiome in your armpits, causing an overproduction of bad bacteria which contribute to a worse odor when you stop using them.
Aluminum free deodorant may be one of those things that require preparation. If you've tried to "Just switch" and you smelled terrible at the end of the day. It may be because there is a build up of the odor causing bacteria in your armpits.

The Answer

Try detoxing your underarms before you switch to the natural deodorant. When I was making the switch, I was home on maternity leave, so there were days when I didn't use anything, days when I only applied a little bit of milk of magnesia, days when I wiped with apple cider vinegar, etc. I did not do an official "detox" but I did abstain from traditional antiperspirant for an extended period of time, which is kind of a detox if we're considering the definition of the word.

How To

The Baking Soda Method

Baking soda is one of the best ingredients on the earth for pH balancing the body.  To detox your armpits with baking soda make sure you clean your armpits and while wet apply ALUMINUM FREE baking soda and leave on for 15 minutes or longer then wipe clean.  Repeat this procedure each day for a week or longer.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon, or Witch Hazel Method 

After a bath or shower to apply either lemon or apple cider vinegar to your armpits.  Allow the armpits to dry before going to apply deodorant which is optional.  Some of the quickest detoxifications come with removing both deodorant and antiperspirants all together.  Witch hazel can also be used in place of ACV or lemon with this protocol.

Clay Detox Recipe

You’ll need:
  1. Mix the clay and vinegar with a spoon or two of water to achieve a paste-like consistency.
  2. Spread a thin layer of this mixture on each armpit, allowing it to work its magic for about 15 minutes*.
  3. Rinse off the mask in the shower using a soft washcloth and dry the armpits thoroughly after your shower. You can then apply a natural deodorant if you wish, or go au natural.
  4. Repeat this process daily until your body odor has settled down and you can apply a natural deodorantwithout unwelcome side effects.
  5. Finally, vow never to go back to your conventional, chemical-laden antiperspirant or deodorant!
*If you feel pain after application, you should rinse off the mask immediately, although it’s more likely you will experience a tingling or warm sensation as blood flow to the area increases – this is normal.

After the Detox

You will notice less odor - sometimes even when you're not wearing deodorant, less irritation and perspiration after using natural deodorant, no more product build up in your armpits, improved lymphatic function, and reduction in illness.

The motto Fancy Free, LLC. is keeping you free from chemicals. As a retired health care professional, I have seen my fair share of medical complications caused by drug treatments. I started digging deeper when I realized that Jehovah made us in His image. Our body is a perfect ecosystem. When we start adding things that don't belong, we upset the perfect balance put in place. I get it, sometimes it's hard to avoid all of the chemicals and fillers manufacturers are allowed to put in products we consume. Your body will tell you when it's time to take a break and detox.

Shameless Plug Alert:

Fancy Free, LLC. is the manufacturer of quality products for hair and skin. Our motto is "Keeping you chemical free." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.